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Henry Colombi Mesidor

Texas Tech quarterback Henry Colombi (3), who has announced his transfer to Marshall, is brought down by WVU’s Akheem Mesidor in the Mountaineers’ 23-20 loss to the Red Raiders on Oct. 2, 2021, in Morgantown.

HUNTINGTON — It isn’t often a football player from the state of Florida transfers to Marshall and it ends up feeling closer to home for him.

Such is the case for Hollywood, Florida, native Henry Colombi — Marshall’s new quarterback who committed over the weekend after a visit.

Colombi’s college football career has taken him far from his Sunshine State home. It started at Utah State before he transferred to Texas Tech for the last two years.

That makes the 1,100-mile trek from Huntington a breeze in comparison to the near 1,700 miles from Lubbock, Texas, or the 2,700 miles from Logan, Utah.

It’s a welcome transition for Colombi.

“It’s an opportunity for family to come to my games because I played far from home for most of my career in Utah and Texas, so I figured this year, them being able to get out there is really important to me,” Colombi said.

Colombi’s move to the Herd will also bring his family together more often.

His uncle — his mother’s brother — lives in Ravenswood, which gives him a family member nearby in case he needs anything and gives his family someone to visit with whenever he’s playing at Marshall.

“It’s just easier for everybody because when she comes to see me, she can stop by and see her brother and things like that,” Colombi said.

Colombi’s commitment comes on the second go-round after he had been contacted by Marshall upon entering the NCAA transfer portal.

When Colombi opted to leave Utah State in 2019, then-Marshall offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey contacted Colombi about the potential of joining the Herd.

Even though Colombi opted to go to Texas Tech, it gave him a familiarity with the Marshall program and some of those around it.

Cramsey is now off to Memphis as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator, but there is still familiarity with the MU personnel — namely wide receivers Corey Gammage and Talik Keaton, who are both Floridians.

“That definitely excites me,” Colombi said of Marshall’s large Florida contingent. “I feel that Florida produces a ton of talent — especially south Florida — when it comes to college football.

“Guys like Corey, who played at Atlantic High School, that’s a guy I’m familiar with. On the other hand, Talik is from Tampa. He was actually rivals with my roommate at Utah State, so they played against each other in high school. We gave him a call when I was up there [in Huntington]. Having those ties are really important for me.”

The relationship with the receivers is going to be important for Colombi, who is looking forward to taking part in the Herd’s air-it-out attack.

The style of play is one with which he’s plenty familiar from his time at Utah State and Texas Tech, which makes for a smooth transition.

“It’s a team that keeps the defense off-balance, it’s a team that takes shots down the field and it’s a team that’s not afraid to score points,” Colombi said. “They air the ball out, spread the ball out to many different receivers. When you have a receiving corps like that, the defense has to account for everyone because they all are playmakers. Those guys make my job easy. It’s just getting the ball to them in space.”

Colombi threw for nearly 2,300 yards in the last two seasons at Texas Tech, and efficiency was one key to his success.

Last season, Colombi appeared in seven games for the Red Raiders, throwing for 1,291 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions.

Colombi had a pair of 300-yard performances to his credit last season, throwing for 344 yards against TCU and going 17 of 23 for 324 yards with three touchdowns and an interception against Texas.

Colombi also was 23 of 34 for 266 yards in Texas Tech’s 23-20 win over West Virginia in Morgantown.

Colombi looks forward to keeping his success in the Mountain State going once suiting up with the Herd.

With Cramsey now at Memphis, Marshall is still mulling over its next offensive coordinator, but the likelihood is that the Herd will have wide receivers coach Clint Trickett and tight ends coach Bill Legg each in the mix, considering both have offensive coordinator experience.

Colombi said those relationships built on his visit last weekend made him comfortable with each, no matter who is calling plays next year.

“I feel like I developed a great relationship with Coach Legg and Coach Trickett this past weekend,” Colombi said. “We went to dinner and I got to know them. We talked about ball, we talked about my family — just things that are important to me.

“Those seem like great guys, they are great ball coaches and they’ve been some great places, so I’m excited to work under them.”

Colombi is the front-runner to replace former starter Grant Wells, who entered the transfer portal two weeks ago and ended up signing with Virginia Tech.

Colombi said he has two classes that he is finishing at Texas Tech, but they are online classes, so his hope is to work ahead and complete his course load there so he’s ready to go with the Herd for spring football.

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch and covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.